In my 40 years as a certified auto technician, I’ve come to realize that most folks have no idea what the heck it is I do. People are always asking me if I’m trustworthy or if I’m going to swindle them, as if I were some sort of crooked card dealer trying to buy a new gold tooth. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Seems like there’s a lot of misinformation going around about my profession, so let me explain it as simply as I know how: My job is basically the modern-day equivalent of being a horse doctor.

If that sounds confusing to you then stick with me. You see, in the old days, people depended on horses to get from here to there. When folks still rode horses, sometimes they’d have to take them to the horse doctor, whether on account of swamp fever, lameness of the hoof, rain rot, or any other bothersome affliction. Nowadays, we’ve got cars. Cars, in their own way, can get sick too, and when that happens, I’m the fella who brings them back to health.

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So, in the same way a horse doctor might mend a snakebite on a horse’s leg, I can patch a leak on the tire of a car. And just like a horse doctor might be asked to relieve an infirmity of a horse’s bowels, so am I often needed to minister to an ailing exhaust system in an automobile. If a horse suffered a bludgeoning to the eye, it’d be up to the horse doctor to repair it to the best of his ability. Similarly, if a car’s got a busted headlamp, it’s ol’ Ted’s job to make it shine.

So, in the same way a horse doctor might mend a snakebite on a horse’s leg, I can patch a leak on the tire of a car.

You follow?

Now, you might’ve heard the term “horsepower” in relation to automobiles, which could understandably lead you to believe that I might also be capable of attending to a horse’s health. The truth is, though, that I know about as much about horses as I do about women—which is to say, nothing (and I’ve been married 33 years!). Today, when someone needs a horse doctor, they go see what’s called a veterinarian, whom you might describe as a sort of auto mechanic, but for animals.

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If you’re struggling to make heads or tails of everything, don’t fret—it’s an awful lot to wrap your noodle around. This is a complicated profession, and it’s perfectly natural for you to have a lot of questions. Hang in there!

Now, perhaps you’re thinking, If a horse was pregnant, you could take it to the horse doctor to assist with the birthing process, so does that mean cars can get pregnant, too? The answer to that question is a little more complicated than I can go into here, so for the sake of time, I’ll just go ahead and say no. Again, this is a lot to try and comprehend at once, and you shouldn’t get down on yourself if you’re still feeling a little befuddled. It takes a year or more of schooling to become an auto mechanic, and even then, you still don’t know everything there is to know about the profession.

But if you’re ever feeling confused, just refer back to this simple acronym: MDHPHD. That stands for Modern-Day Horse PhD, which is short for Modern-Day Horse Doctor. And that’s pretty much exactly what an auto mechanic is!

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Just remember: I’m not actually qualified to care for horses. Just cars.